Yoga For Strength And EnergyRodney Yee
Year Released: 2001
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
I was surprised to read about some of the problems that the other reviewer had with this DVD. Although it's true that the DVD doesn't offer a mix-n-match feature (which would be great!), on my copy, I can easy skip right to to the practices without having to fast-forward through either Rodney's demonstration or his Introduction, as the Main Menu provides this option (and hitting my "menu" button on my DVD remote during the Gaiam intro skips that as well).
That being said, here is my review--I'm coping from what I wrote for Amazon several years ago, but I still own & enjoy this DVD:
This DVD is comprised of two previous releases by yoga instructor Rodney Yee, Yoga Practice for Energy and Yoga Practice for Strength. Both practices are designed for those with some prior knowledge of yoga; I would say that the Energy practice is appropriate for experienced beginners and above, while Strength is designed for those on a more intermediate level. Because both practices are broken into multiple shorter sessions, this DVD provides a huge amount of variety.
In Yoga Practice for Strength, Rodney Yee offers 2 practices of less than 30 minutes each; the first is designed to prepare for inversions, particularly headstand, whereas the second consists of balance work, including arm balances. The first practice (36 minutes) begins with several vinyasa sequences. Rodney slowly builds up to a full sun salutation and then adds additional poses such as triangle and side angle; I loved that he moved slowly and held each posture for a long period. After the 16-minute vinyasa segment, Rodney goes through 20 minutes of inversion prep work. He starts by working in down dog, first doing a bent arm down dog (tough!) and then holding down dog for two minutes; both of these moves are designed to build strength. Next, he practices bridge pose and then moves into a shoulderstand and plow sequence using a chair and a strap. He finishes with a reclined leg stretch and a very short savasana. Rodney starts the second practice with a vinyasa warm-up, moving through the vinyasa twice and including a beginning balance posture, side plank. He then works on standing poses for balance: triangle, side angle, half moon, forward bend, tree, warrior 1, forward bend with feet apart, warrior 3. He did not hold the poses as long as in the first program, but he still moves slowly and precisely. Rodney then goes to the floor for more challenge postures, including boat, pendulum, and crane pose. Although I couldn't do pendulum, Rodney showed how to modify with blocks, and he made me feel that I could get there eventually. Rodney ends with a reclined twist and savasana, bringing the total practice time for this session in at about 26 minutes (Rodney also spends a few minutes talking between the two segments). Yoga Practice for Strength is perfect for intermediate yogis wanting to build up to more challenging postures by building strength.
Yoga for Energy is divided into 5 separate practices which are designed to be performed throughout the day. The first, Awakening, is 9 minutes of mostly floor stretches, and it moves very slowly. The second, Centering, is 7 minutes of relatively basic standing poses and is designed to be used in the morning. The third and longest section (15 minutes) is Creativity. This section is intended to be done during the day for an energy boost, and it moves much more quickly than any of the other sections. Although I enjoyed how Rodney flowed from one pose to the other, it moved a bit too fast for me--for example, you must very quickly move from downward dog to a standing pose such as proud warrior. Also of note here is that you do all of the poses on one side of the body before moving to the other. The last two segments are meant to be done together. First is Reflection, which contains 11 minutes of seated forward bends for tranquility. Finally comes Surrender, 4 minutes in relaxation pose. This is the only time which Rodney provides detailed instruction, as he leads you through a guided relaxation. For the three middle sections, Rodney has 1 or 2 others performing the routine along with him.
If you crave variety in your yoga practice, you can't go wrong with this DVD, which features some of the best of what Rodney Yee has to offer. Highly recommended!
Rodney Yee is one of my favorite yoga instructions. I think this is some of the best of his early work: you'll get precise instruction that never feels rushed.
The following comments refer to the first DVD edition:
OK, this is mainly a rant about the DVD format, rather than a comment on these two yoga workouts, which have been well-described by other reviewers. The Yoga for Strength workout theoretically has two sections, one of 35 mins, the other of 25 mins. The Yoga for Energy is made up of 5 sections, very clearly separate - each with different people, different setting and colours, named at the beginning of the section and ending with Rodney saying Namasté.
So, I thought these would be perfect for DVD format! 7 sections to mix and match, more if you divide the Yoga for Strength up into Sun Salutations, inverted poses, standing poses, etc.
But, what did those "smart" people at Gaiam do? First off, there's more than 2 minutes at the start of the DVD where Universal Studios have their logo thing, then Gaiam have a little piece about renewable energy/mind-body-health advertising their own company. I haven't found any button that will let me skip this section - you can't even fast-forward through it!!
Then, the workouts come as is: no sections at all!! This is absolutely disastrous. For one thing, there's an 8 minute section at the start of Yoga for Strength where Rodney does a little demonstration. It's beautiful, his form is great, but this is 8 mins you have to fast forward through every time!! At the end of Section 1 he says go into relaxation and stay as long as you like, but rather than being able to skip to one of the two relaxation sections on the DVD, you either have to fast forward - not very relaxing - or just relax on your own.
Likewise in Yoga for Energy, if you want to do a specific section - awakening, centering, creativity, relaxation - you have to write down where they appear on the DVD and fast forward to them! So what's the point of getting it on DVD? None whatsoever!
I've been reading reviews here for 2 years, and this is the first one I've posted, which goes to show just how upset I was by this DVD. Be warned!
His calm cuing and great form are a joy, but I found his pronunciation a bit distracting sometimes - he seems to have problems with some letters.